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Day 5 - July 23, 2000

We got up this morning to somewhat windy conditions, but sunny skies. We didn't really want to leave this awesome campsite, but the promise of more interesting scenery and terrain made us move on. On the other side of Cherry Lake, there were some cool small islands, and we saw a guy jump in the lake swimming from another campsite on the other side of the lake. That was the first person we had seen in about 2 1/2 days. We heard the people on Ester Lake, but never saw them.

Next we crossed a short portage to Topaz Lake, a cool lake with branches sticking off in every direction. The wind was definitely picking up out of the southwest, so the paddling was getting interesting. The same amount of paddling got you a shorter distance when the wind was against you! Another mini-portage got us into Amoeber Lake, a lake with tons of branches and bays going everywhere. Of course, we had trouble on this lake and spent a long time finding the portage to the South Arm of Knife Lake. After we finally found it, we wound our way through the connection between the arms of Knife Lake. Meanwhile, flies were taking large chunks out of our legs in the canoe. We'd snag 'em on the portages, and they'd just stay in the canoe until we got out in the middle of the lake, then they'd start dining on our legs and feet. It was especially annoying to sit in the middle in the canoe, because your legs were spread around the gear sitting in front of you and you couldn't see or reach your feet, you'd just feel fly teeth digging into your skin.

By this time it was mid-afternoon, as the portage searching took up some considerable time, as well as the portage. We were wanting to get to Kekekabic Lake today, but we knew there were several portages through the Kekekabic Ponds before we could get there. So, we decided to start looking for a campsite. We paddled around Hammer Island (OK, that's what I called it. C'mon! Doesn't it look like a hammer?) There were a few campsites, and a couple good ones, but they were snagged already. So, we headed for the south shore of the South Arm and began scanning the shore with binocs for fire grates and the ever elusive campsite. Finally we spotted one near a point where the shore turned more southerly. It looked like a nice one, so we snagged it. Hopping out of the canoe, we started the usual chores of unpacking, setting up the tent and clothesline, and finding some firewood. This campsite wasn't as high profile, so there were still plenty of trees standing. However, a short distance away it wasn't as protected, and there were down trees everywhere. We were in a pretty sheltered area as the woods were pretty much inpenetrable anywhere around our site. It was just a huge mass of downed trees.

After relaxing for a while, we noticed a dull roar, such as that of a waterfall, coming from up the shore toward Eddy Lake. We knew there was a 'scenic waterfall' there from the guide we were using. So, we hopped in the canoe to go check it out. As we got closer, we noticed the portage up to Eddy Lake. We kept paddling, though, and got to the other side of the creek and beached the canoe. Through the trees, we could make out a huge waterfall. This looked like it was going to be fun! First, we crossed the creek and walked up the trail where the portage was. There wasn't much of a view there, so we crossed some fallen logs back to the other side, where a bunch of trees had fallen across the trail. I stopped on a log and took a picture of those guys standing by the waterfall. I caught up and took a picture from where they were standing. Next, we scrambled up a maze of fallen trees to check out the higher reaches of the waterfall. It was pretty fun, as this waterfall was huge! After we reached a point where we could go no further, we turned around and headed back down. I was tempted to try and cross the raging waters on a fallen tree, but nearly lost my balance and just snapped a picture instead. We were hot from another day of paddling and decided to attempt to climb in the waterfall. After wading through the rough waters near the bottom, we found a climb-able area on the left side. After moving up a short distance, the next step was to cut across to another rocky ledge. This time, we had to navigate through the waterfall itself. Thankfully, there was a nice ledge to walk on underneath the roaring water, so we made it. The last picture here is of Shawn and I in the waterfall. We ended up scrambling around on the rocks here for about an hour or so. It was great! There was even something that could pass for a rustic whirlpool near the bottom of the waterfall (just in between Shawn and I and behind the logs in the picture). That was fun, even if the water was pretty darn cold. You got used to it, though. Since we couldn't climb any higher, we decided to grab our shirts, camera, and hats and head back to the campsite.

Back there, we hung up our wet clothes and fired up our dinner. We had spaghetti again this night, with more Mrs. Dash and catsup. It was pretty tasty after playing in that waterfall. After we cleaned, we boiled some more water to keep our water supply OK. There was an awesome sunset at this campsite. We wanted to get some stargazing in on this trip, but clouds blocking the view of the sky. Tonight was no exception, as they moved in right around sunset. We again stayed up pretty late talking about the waterfall and how we would come back to the Boundary Waters just to see that waterfall again. We also heard that weird squeaking sound coming from underneath our log benches. We thought it was the bug in this picture, but he never made any sound while we had him on a small stick, so we gave up the detective work. After quite a bit of talking, we went to bed.

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